The fast-growing Middle East and North Africa market is characterised by a population that is the youngest and most digitally connected in the world. In the Middle East and Africa annual digital spend is predicted to rise by 73% between 2017 - 2020 ($2.20bn - $3.81bn). Which is why we are thrilled to now be partnering with Socialize – the Middle East’s largest social media agency, and now We Are Social’s first acquisition.

Ever since Nathan and I founded We Are Social ten years ago, back in June 2008, it has been our ambition to be the world’s best socially-led creative agency. And over the years since, we have steadily built our international network of offices and attracted the world’s top talent and sharpest strategic thinkers to become so.

With offices in New York, London, Paris, Milan, Munich, Berlin, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing and Sydney, our footprint was already considerable. Now, however, it’s even stronger.

Socialize, based in Dubai, has a diverse, 40-strong team (most of whom you can see in the picture above!) and a reputation for excellence which has led to award-winning work for a large regional client base including Sony, General Mills, Mercedes-Benz, Bioderma and Singapore Tourism.

As exciting though, is the creative and cultural passion for social our businesses share, and the similarity of our respective entrepreneurial spirit and future-focussed offerings.

Now, by taking a majority stake in Socialize, We Are Social is extending its network to the Middle East and Africa.

This alliance will bring our team to 700+ people working from 11 offices in 9 countries. And it will provide our global clients – top brands including adidas, Netflix, Samsung, Lavazza and Google – exceptional insight and unrivalled access to one of the world’s fast-growing and most dynamic geographic regions.

Our acquisition of a majority stake in Socialize is, we hope, the first of many as we move We Are Social into the next phase of its development. This month of all months, however, it will also be a thrilling way to celebrate our tenth birthday. And I look forward to the new campaigns we will create, clients we will partner and alliances we will forge as we embark on our second decade in business.

So it just leaves me to say to the Socialize team, on behalf of everyone at We Are Social - welcome to the We Are Social family!

Robin Grant is Global Managing Director and co-founder of We Are Social